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Report: Blacks, Latinos arrested excessively

September 14, 2010 12:49:00 AM PDT
Dozens of Antelope Valley residents gathered in Lancaster on Tuesday afternoon to voice concern on the heels of the recently released report on law enforcement that found disparities by race of people arrested on obstruction or resisting officer charges.Those mostly handcuffed: Blacks and Hispanics.

The latest 3-year, semi-annual Merrick Bobb report for the Antelope Valley indicates more such arrests happen there than anywhere else in Los Angeles County. The arrests have to do in part with delaying an officer from doing his job during an investigation.

"The kids are afraid to walk out there because they get stopped," said Lancaster resident Jackie Contreras. "Either African American or Latino, they're just afraid. "

"It is a problem because most of the time the sheriff's department is acting a little over zealous," said Juan Blanco of the NAACP, Antelope Valley chapter.

The report found that in Lancaster, African-Americans are arrested on 64 percent of obstruction or resisting officer charges even though they make up 17 percent of the population.

Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in Lancaster said violent crime dropped in the community last year by 21 percent. They said that came from aggressive policing.

"Sixty-four percent of our arrests for resisting have been African Americans, and what I'm saying is that much of that comes from the frustration experienced in the African-American community because they are being contacted more often," said Capt. Alan Anderson. "They're being contacted more often by the police because they are more often involved in serious crimes."

Some said that's part of the stigma African Americans have to face.

"Traditionally, people want to point fingers and place blame," said Darren Parker of the Human Relations Task Force. "We're going to collaborate to bring together a program called Back on Track that will not only help educate our community youth, African Americans and Latinos, but try to change that perception and misperception that has so demonized our youth of both those cultures."


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